Members of Parliament have condemned and questioned the actions of the Assistant Inspector of Police Grace Turyagumanawe and Government’s blocking of the King of Rwenzururu Omusinga Charles Wesley Mumbere Irema-Ngoma from visiting Bundibugyo district to preside over the Kingdom’s Peace Day last week.
The King was blocked by police outside his palace when he tried to move out with his supporters on their way to Bundibugyo.
Police informed the King that government had ordered him not to go to Bundibugyo. Police fired teargas to disperse the crowds that had gathered. Also two officers were reported to have been detained for firing in the crowd along the streets of Kasese town as they tried to stage a demonstration in support of the King.
The King’s aborted visit followed protestations from the Bamba and Babwisi who form the majority in Bundibugyo accusing him of imposing himself on them. A similar misunderstanding a year ago resulted into clashes among the Bamba and Bakonzo leaving hundreds displaced.
Kasese Woman MP Winnie Kiiza raised the matter on the floor of Parliament as a matter of national importance where she demanded for an explanation from government on the manner in which the King was blocked and also questioned whether the Rwenzururu Kingdom was formally recognized by the government of Uganda.
In 2009 government recognized the Rwenzururu Cultural Institution as a cultural institution in Uganda.
She said that the manner in which the police blocked the King was demeaning and a violation of his fundamental human rights.
Kiiza also questioned the manner in which the Police Commander Grace Turyagumanawe openly beat up junior police officers in a way of disciplining which the MP said was unprofessional, and a violation of human rights.
The Chairperson of the Buganda Caucus MPs Godfrey Kiwanda informed the house about the situation in Kasese which he said is not new to Uganda since it happened before in Buganda Kingdom in September 2009 when the Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi was blocked by government from visiting his people in Bugerere and Nakasongora.
He wondered if the government still had goodwill towards kingdoms yet it is the same government that recognized them.
The State Minister for Internal Affairs James Baba noted that the government received invitation to the Peace Celebrations in Bundibugyo and that it received representatives from the people of Bundibugyo asking it to postpone the celebrations until they are ready.
Baba said that in government’s wisdom they decided to invite the representatives of the Bakonjo and Bwamba and Hon Ruhakana Rugunda on directives of President Yoweri Museveni mediated between the two groups but their positions were entirely reconcilable after a number of meetings.
Baba also answered the query from the Kasese Woman MP on Grace Turyagumanawe’s slapping of police officers in public which he said he was instilling discipline in the police officers who had fired in the crowds without permission.
He added that no police officer is supposed to shoot before an order is given.